“The county anticipates a 16 percent increase in costs to employee health insurance. It is undetermined whether the county will share the same health care provider as the Public School Division, or both will go separate ways,” Ashcraft noted in his presentation. An additional $226,005 is proposed in the General Fund to cover claims. The Special Revenue and Utility Funds budgets are increased by $33,665 for increased claims.

This budget proposal also includes $95,500 for continuation of a career development program for Police and Fire and EMS, and adds programs for the Social Services, Community Development, Animal Services Center and Emergency Communications departments.

A 5 percent increase in water and 7.5 percent increase in wastewater fees are proposed to continue to realign utility revenues to cover annual operating and capital expenses. The estimated revenue from this increase totals $373,000. The proposed increases equate to a $1.24 increase per month for water charges and a $3.97 per month increase per month for sewer charges ($5.21 per month total increase) for single-family homes using an average of 5,000 gallons per month. About two-thirds of residential customers would actually see less than this $5.21 per month increase because they consume less than the average.